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Most county roads reopened after flooding caused closings
Public Works crew evaluated roads and bridges throughout the county. Kevin Patrick, part of the crew, took these pictures of, from left, J. T. Wallace Road, Harold Dobbs Road and East End Road.

Driving by the Yellow and Alcovy rivers in Newton County is a visible example of the record rainfall that’s fallen in the Southeast in December.

Water has spilled from the banks. Both are nearing flood stage, though the rivers had begun to recede earlier this week during a break in the rain.

That break allowed the Newton County Public Works staff to evaluate damage to roads and bridges.

According to a report filed by the Public Works Administration Office, just before the Christmas holidays, five roads in Newton County were closed: Guy Jones, Henderson, Pitts, Benton Dairy and Sewell roads. During the holidays, additional roads were closed: Mills Drive, Almon Church, Alcovy Trestle, East End, Hamby, Channing Cope, Covered Bridge, Harold Dobbs and Sockwell roads.

All but three of the roads were reopened by Tuesday. Only three remain closed for repairs: Pitts Chapel, Guy Jones and Henderson roads.

Roads could be closed for various reasons, including dangerous pot holes, weakened bridges and wash outs.

“We hardly experience this amount of rainfall, this month or any other time,” said Jody Nolan, Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director for Covington-Newton County.

Contributing to the flooding, Nolan said, is the storms have knocked a lot of leaves out of trees, building up the leave fall in culverts and causing some blockage.

“There’s still the possibility of additional showers and additional flooding in roadways,” Nolan said, cautioning residents to be careful. “There have been several deaths throughout the Southeast because people drove through flood waters crossing the roadway, and their vehicles were swept downstream.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Weather Service offer the following advice []:

  • Do not drive through flood waters. Water can hide the state of the road or that the road bed has been washed away
  • Avoid areas already flooded, especially if water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.
  • Do not camp or park vehicles along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
  • Move to higher ground if heavy rain or rising waters occur
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers
  • Do not walk through moving water: six inches of water can make someone fall.
  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups
  • If flooding threatens to flood a home or building, secure it and, if possible, turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. People should not touch electrical equipment if wet or standing in water.